Oscar missed two penalties as Shanghai SIPG lose to Urawa
There were contrasting fortunes for former Chelsea midfielders in the AFC Champions League (ACL) on Tuesday night as Ramires helped Jiangsu Suning progress to the knockout stage for the first time while Oscar was the culprit as Shanghai SIPG dropped their first points.
Shanghai could also have booked a spot on in the round of 16 at the home of Urawa Reds of Japan. But Oscar missed two second-half penalties as the big-spending Chinese Super League team lost 1-0 at Saitama Stadium.
Urawa's Brazilian striker Rafael Silva poked home the only goal of the game from close range to put the J.League team ahead a minute before the break.
Shanghai, led by former Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas, piled on the pressure after the restart and were rewarded in the 64th minute as Oscar was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area.
The Brazilian stepped up to take the spot kick only to see Shusaku Nishikawa push the shot onto the bar and then to safety.
Twelve minutes later, the $60 million signing had another chance after Urawa's Tomoaki Makino handled in the area. This time, Oscar sent the kick over the bar.
"We have failed to qualify early and it's a pity," Villas-Boas said. "We had a better second half and controlled the situation. Our opponent had a better first half though. Both sides hit the woodwork but they had higher possession and caused us problems.
"However our second half was very good. We missed two penalties though, unluckily and in our next match against FC Seoul we will try to gain the points and nail down qualification.
"When we won the second penalty, I asked Oscar if he was still confident and his answer was yes, so I left it to him. He is our first choice to take penalties."
Urawa move above Shanghai on goal difference to take top spot. But with two games remaining, both teams are looking good for the knockout stage with a six-point advantage over third place.
That is now occupied by FC Seoul after a 3-2 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Australia.
In Group H, Jiangsu strolled to a 3-0 win over Gamba Osaka to secure a first-ever place in the last 16 at the third time of asking.
Alex Teixeria opened the scoring after just three minutes. Four minutes later, Ramires fired home the second. Just before the break a header from South Korean defender Hong Jeong-ho sealed the win.
"We are very happy to get the win against a good team," said Jiangsu coach Choi Yong-soo. "We got off to a good start and it is very pleasing that we kept a clean sheet to take the three points."
With Jiangsu currently bottom of the Chinese Super League after four rounds, the place in the knockout round in the AFC Champions League with two games to spare is welcome.
"We have some important games now at home and we looking forward to getting back into action in the league," said Choi.
The loss sent 2008 champions Gamba down into last place in the group.
Meanwhile, Adelaide United climbed into second above Jeju United with an upset 3-1 win in South Korea.
Adelaide's South Korean star Kim Jae-sung opened the scoring. But after Magno Cruz quickly equalised for Jeju, second half goals from Dylan McGowan and Riley McGree gave the 2008 finalists the three points and hope of a place in the second round.
Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.